How I Introduced a Rescued Cat to My Dog
Updated: Sep 8, 2022
Can dogs and cats live together?
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I’m going to share with you my personal story of how I got my rescued cat and 1 year old Beagle to get along.
Please keep in mind, this steps might not work with every pet. There are dogs and cats that will never get along. It really depends on their past and/or personality.
My cat (Alfi) was a rescue cat. My husband witnessed someone dumping the poor cat on the street, and then he just drove away.
So my husband went and picked up the frightened cat and brought him home.
I don’t think the cat was more that 1-2 years old. He looked young.
…I apologize for the bad pictures. They are several years old and I didn’t have a great phone camera back then.
This is Alfi when he was rescued:
When my husband rescued Alfi, I already had a 1 year old beagle who loved chasing other animals, so I was a bit concerned how they will react to each other.
When we first introduced the cat to my dog, it went exactly as I thought it would.
My beagle was howling like crazy, and he was trying to chase him, and Alfi of course was scared and tried to scratch him….
The usual dog-cat fight.
So we had to take it step by step.
Fist we had to keep them separate. While my Beagle is not an aggressive dog, and I don’t think he would have really hurt the cat, we couldn’t risk it. Also we don’t know what environment the cat came from, so I didn’t want to give any possible diseases to my dog.
We rushed to the local grocery store got a cheap litter box (for now), a bag of litter, food and water bowl, and some cat food.
Luckily the weather was great outside so we decided to leave the cat on the balcony for over night, and take him to the Vet next day to make sure he doesn’t have any disease or fleas.
We set up the balcony for him so he was comfortable. I think the cat was relieved that he was rescued because he didn’t give us any trouble.
Next day we took him to the Vet, got him de-flead (he was full of fleas as expected), and got his necessary shots. Luckily, other than the fleas, he was healthy.
So now we had to get him used to the dog.
Fist we had to put our dog in his crate for about an hour so the cat can go around the house and get used to the smells etc.
This is a very important step!
Let him walk around the house and get comfortable.
Once the cat looked comfortable (the way I could tell was that he started licking himself and rubbing against our legs), we let the dog out, but he was on a leash, just in case.
I actually used Bach Rescue Remedy first to calm my dog down as he was going crazy.
(I had used this product before to help my dog deal with separation anxiety and luckily I had some left in the house.)
Once he calmed down, we let the dog smell the the cat and vise versa.
Surprisingly they seemed to like each other.
So we took the leash of the dog as he was no longer jumping on him. He kinda just sit there and observed the cat walk around.
This is pretty much all we did. They started bonding and then just simply ignoring each other. But there was no fighting or aggression at least.
Now until we were completely sure that they were friends, we had to keep the dog separate while we weren’t home. Just in case.
As time went by it was obvious that they were okay with each other. They stared playing and sleeping next to each other.
So they became friends:
If the cat looks stressed in his new environment, you can use the Bach Rescue Remedy to calm him down.
If the your dog seems to harass the cat a lot while he is still getting used to the new home, you should keep them separate.
However, don’t just lock your dog up for a long time! Just like with kids, he will get jealous of the cat, and you don’t want that. This can lead to aggression towards the cat or even you!
I recommend you to get a “baby gate” to keep the dog out of a certain area of your home.
For example if you have the cat and his food etc. in the kitchen area, use the “baby gate” to keep the dog out of the kitchen. This way the cat will have a safe place were the dog can’t get to.
I recommend you getting one that you know will fit for your dog, as large dog breeds will easily jump through these gates if they are too low.
I hope these helps.